How hard-working are the Swedes?

%%  I’m chairing a Chalmers Formula Student team meeting today. Sponsors and alumni will be coming to listen to what our engineers have to say about next generation racecar development. What stresses me out more than the presentation itself is Fika! (It’s not a swear word, it’s Swedish for coffee break.) I’m in charge of arranging the Fika break, which includes strong coffee and kanelbullar (sugar-loaded cinnamon buns).

Fika is a religion here. Swedish people worship coffee. I don’t know where the word “Fika” came from. One explanation is kaffe = “ka” + “fi”. And by transitive property, A+B=B+A… Alas! Kaffe = Ka+Fe = Fi+ka = Fika!

Kanonbra (super good)! Enough math.


So how hardworking are the Swedes? We seem to talk a lot about their endless summer vacations, countless Fika breaks, eating mountains of kanelbullar, and etc.

Based on my observation, after intake of kanelbullar and coffee, the Swedes are turbocharged with potential energy. Work gets done at rapid rates. And once this energy runs low, Fika break is in order. My point is the Swedes are pretty efficient. They take effective breaks and gets the work done.

Study hall

Swedes are perhaps a bit more introverted. But the plus side is that they are respectful of others’ boundaries. In the study hall, the tables begin to fill up after 8 am and remain busy until dinnertime. In such a crowded place, there’s no chaos. It’s not a library, yet it’s not terribly noisy. People might have a little chitchat but they are not disrupting anyone. This type of studying environment can be found all over campus. Even the student union pub! Some are having a good time with friends over beers, while some are washing down dry biology assignments with beverages. Skål!

study room

No skål for me. I need to study for tomorrow’s final exams.


coffee innovation

Gimmy avatar


  • peter • 7 Aug 2016 at 7.44 pm Reply

    we ll i am in sweden since last 2.6 years. Swedes are more into enjoyment and working less. Note that there is no short cuts to get work done unless and untill there is manipulation. the golden rule is voided “there is not shortcuts but Hard work ”
    whille i really appreciate Swedes approach to enjoy life and summer vacations and fica time to time. for me it is just time cosuming. i agree swedes are quite introword . i think i and also most people will like to have there cup of coffe with some nice conversation around table. after all a short talk with right minded person is so relaxing from work pressure.

    • Gimmy • 7 Aug 2016 at 8.03 pm Reply

      Thanks Peter for sharing your view 🙂 /Gimmy

  • hasan • 16 Sep 2015 at 8.56 am Reply

    Vai ami sweden a m.pharm korte chay…but vaya ami bujte parce na GRE na ielts konta korbo???r kivba schlrshp pata pare???

  • Angelina
    Angelina Ho • 25 Oct 2014 at 11.01 pm Reply

    Agree. Swedes are quite efficient. When it comes to assignments, they like to get it done well and fast (ahead of due dates). I like efficiency 🙂

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